07 November 2012

Adventures in Baby Food

This little guy would rather eat soot from the fireplace than food with texture!
When my son first transitioned to solids (as opposed to breast milk), I started by feeding him jarred baby food. I did this for a few reasons. Several sources I read pointed out that food used for baby food is picked at its peak and is actually better quality than the produce offered in stores (especially the stores I can afford to shop at!), and I kind of thought that making my own baby food would be far too time consuming and difficult. However, he quickly progressed through stages 1-3 of baby food, and it seemed like he needed to transition to something with a little more texture. Even stage 3 foods are fairly liquified, so I was forced to make my own. And it's been an interesting process, with lots of trial and error!

I quickly discovered that although my son will eat paper, dirt, and carpet fuzz, he doesn't like his food to have texture! He'd stay on a liquid diet if I'd let him--hence a lot of the trial and error. But slowly, I've been feeling my way along and figuring out what works and what doesn't!

My worry that making my own baby food would be time consuming proved to be unfounded. I learned that I could make him one to two week's worth of food in about half an hour! I started by using frozen vegetables and fruit, since those are actually better quality than the produce in our stores. I cooked them and ground them up in the food processor. I kept it pretty chunky at first, but I've discovered that if I process it a little smoother, my son will be more likely to eat it. One book I read said to freeze individual servings in an ice cube tray, but my little guy eats more than that. So I used a muffin tin. I happened to have a silicone muffin tin, which was ideal, because I could easily pop the food out once it was frozen and store it in a zipper freezer bag. Then, when he's ready to eat, I can throw one in the microwave for about 45 seconds to thaw it. I soon discovered that, in order to get him to eat the slightly chunky food, I had to mix it with something smooth. At first I used enough jarred baby food to give it a smooth texture. And just recently, he's started eating plain Greek yogurt mixed in.

So he's doing pretty well eating vegetables this way. Fruit, being sweeter, is easier to get him to eat. I started by pulling out some apples from my batch of applesauce before I added the honey and spices. (Find that recipe here.) Of course we tried mashed banana, which he loves. And just recently, he's been eating peaches ground up in the food processor. I've had to add a little cereal to the peaches to give them a thicker consistency to get him to eat them.

As far as grains go, we started with baby oatmeal, which he has loved from the beginning. I mix it with pureed prunes for extra fiber! I found a recipe in the comment section of a parenting blog for Baby Pancakes. He really likes these. I made a whole bunch and froze them, and I'll just thaw a few and break them into pieces for him to eat. Here's my version of the recipe which I modified slightly from the original posting.

Baby Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 cup oatmeal cereal
1 cup water (or breast milk)
1/2 cup mashed banana (or other fruit)
3 egg yolks  (My son seems to be allergic to egg whites!)
1/2 cup apple juice (Add more if batter is too thick.)
dash of cinnamon

So we're slowly working our way towards eating three meals of "real food" a day. He still gets most of his nutrition from breast milk, but he's learning to tolerate foods with texture. In a few months, hopefully, we can transition to all solids!

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